“As a teenager, my friends told me I should put off shaving for as long as possible because shaving makes your hair grow back faster, thicker and darker. So the sooner I started shaving, the sooner I’d have to shave every day. They were right. Before long I was shaving my legs almost daily and if I skipped, it showed.”
The above is a confession of many, young adults both male and female. But does hair really grow back faster, thicker and darker pegged on how often we shave?
It is important to first understand how hair grows. The action happens below the surface of the skin, in the hair follicles. A hair follicle is a specialized gland just beneath the skin where a shaft of hair is produced. The color, length and consistency of a hair are determined in the hair follicle and these too are pre-determined by gene factors. The number of hair follicles determines the number of hairs over a given patch of skin, which is a key determinant of hair thickness.
There’s nothing you can do by cutting a hair shaft at the surface of the skin that will alter how quickly it grows back. You also can’t alter its color or texture. And certainly shaving doesn’t increase the number of hair follicles, which is the only way to increase hair thickness. This is true whether the hair is located on the face, armpit or the legs. The only thing shaving does is shorten hair.
The origin of the myth is however rooted in the fact that people shave off unwanted hair when it begins to appear, so, is it true that shaving makes your beard grow faster? Is it true that girls should delay shaving their legs as well? Does shaving affect hair growth? If not, why do people believe this myth?
The main reason for this myth is that stubble (shaved hair that is just starting to grow back) is sharper and more noticeable, and may feel thicker, than hair that’s grown out for a while
You may want to delay shaving simply because there’s a lifetime of shaving ahead of you once you start. But delaying your first shave (or any consequent shave) will not change how your hair grows or how soon you have to do it again.So shave as often or as rarely as you like. But once it grows back, don’t blame its appearance on when you started shaving. It just doesn’t work that way. The best you can do for yourself is invest in a good shaving system that allows you a smooth comfortable shave.
By Angela Ndegwa